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189: Cearcall a’ mhathain

Litir do Luchd-ionnsachaidh - Eadar-mheadhanach Adhartach (B2)
Letter to Learners - Upper Intermediate (B2)

Gaelic Gàidhlig

Seo agaibh tòimhseachan: càite, air uachdar na Talmhainn, a bheil ‘cearcall a’ mhathain’? Tha e ann an àite fuar, gu tuath air Alba. Am bi e na chuideachadh dhuibh ma chanas mi gur e am facal a bh’ aig na Greugaich o shean airson mathan – ‘arktos’?

’S e cearcall a’ mhathain an ‘Cearcall Arctach’, loidhne do-fhaicsinneach a tha a’ dol timcheall na Talmhainn anns an àird a tuath co-shìnte le crios meadhan na cruinne. Airson a bhith mionaideach, tha e aig seasgad ’s a sia ceum agus trithead ’s a dhà mionaid (66° 32’) gu tuath air crios meadhan na cruinne. Ach carson ‘cearcall a’ mhathain’?

’S e a th’ ann an loidhne as fhaide deas bhon phola mu thuath far an gabh a’ ghrian faicinn là is ‘oidhche’, gun dorchadas sam bith ann, aig àm grian-stad an t-samhraidh. Canaidh mi sin a-rithist, oir dh’fhaodadh nach eil am briathrachas furasta dhuibh. ’S e an Cearcall Arctach an loidhne as fhaide deas air an t-saoghal, co-shìnte le crios meadhan na cruinne, far an gabh a’ ghrian faicinn ceithir uairean fichead san là aig grian-stad an t-samhraidh. ’S e ‘grian-stad an t-samhraidh’ a’ Ghàidhlig air ‘summer solstice’, an là as fhaide a th’ ann. Tha am facal solstice a’ tighinn bhon Laidinn solstitium a tha a’ ciallachadh ‘grian-stad’, an dearbh abairt a th’ againn ann an Gàidhlig.

Ach carson ‘arktos’? Uill, airson sin a mhìneachadh, feumaidh sinn a bhith ag amharc air na rionnagan, no na reultan. Tha mi dhen bheachd gum bi sibh eòlach air an reul-bhad air a bheil The Plough ann am Beurla. ’S e a’ Ghàidhlig a th’ air an Crann-arain. ’S e crann-arain an t-inneal leacach a bhios fùineadair a’ cleachdadh airson aran a thoirt a-mach à àmhainn.

’S e an crann-arain anns na speuran na seachd rionnagan as soilleire anns a’ reul-bhad mhòr air a bheil, ann an Laidinn, Ursa Major – am Mathan Mòr. Agus, gu tuath air a’ Chearcall Arctach, cha bhi am Mathan Mòr, an arktos do na Greugaich, a’ falbh uair sam bith fon fhàire. Gabhaidh e faicinn oidhche sam bith dhen bhliadhna, co-dhiù nuair a tha i dorch agus gun sgòthan.

Thathar a’ smaoineachadh gur e an Greugach Hipparchus a chruthaich an siostam airson loidhnichean co-shìnte le crios meadhan na cruinne a chomharrachadh. Bha sin anns an dàrna linn ro Chrìosd. Am measg nan sgrìobhadairean a thug buaidh air, bha fear Pytheas a bhuineadh don bhaile Ghreugach a tha a-nise ann an ceann a deas na Frainge, is air a bheil ‘Marseilles’ an-diugh. Bha Pytheas beò còrr is trì cheud bliadhna ro Chrìosd agus tha e ainmeil, am measg eile, leis gur iad na sgrìobhaidhean aige an fheadhainn as sine a th’ againn mu Bhreatainn, oir sheòl e ann agus sgrìobh e mu dheidhinn a thurais.

Nuair a bha e ann an Alba thomhais e àirde na grèine aig meadhan-là agus bhuaithe sin, dh’obraich Hipparchus a-mach gu robh e aig leth-cheud ’s a h-ochd ceum is trì mionaidean deug (58°13’) gu tuath air crios meadhan na cruinne. Tha cuid a’ dèanamh dheth gu robh sin ann an Eilean Leòdhais agus gur dòcha gur e Tursachan Chalanais a tharraing Pytheas don eilean. Bha fada aig Pytheas ri dhol à Leòdhas mus ruigeadh e an t-àite fuar a chomharraich e mar Ultima Thule agus, gu dearbh, ‘cearcall a’ mhathain’, ach tha e inntinneach gur dòcha gu bheil na clachan ainmeil ann an Calanais na cheangal annasach eadar na seann Ghreugaich, an cruinn-eòlas aca agus an dùthaich againn fhèin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faclan na Litreach: tòimhseachan: puzzle; Arctach: Arctic; do-fhaicsinneach: invisible; grian-stad an t-samhraidh: summer solstice; rionnagan, reultan: stars; reul-bhad: constellation; crann-arain:baker’s bread shovel (also the constellation known as The Plough in English); fuineadair: baker; Tursachan Chalanais: Callanish Standing Stones; cruinn-eòlas: geography (knowledge of the globe); Eilean Leòdhais: Isle of Lewis.

Abairtean na Litreach: air uachdar na Talmhainn: on the surface of the Earth; cearcall a’ mhathain: the circle of the bear; am bi e na chuideachadh dhuibh?: will it be of assistance to you?; co-shìnte le crios meadhan na cruinne: parallel with the equator; as fhaide deas:southernmost; dh’fhaodadh nach eil am briathrachas furasta: perhaps the vocabulary is not easy; far an gabh a’ ghrian faicinn:where the sun can be seen; feumaidh sinn a bhith ag amharc air X: we must look at X; airson aran a thoirt a-mach à àmhainn:to take bread out of an oven; na seachd rionnagan as soilleire: the 7 brightest stars; anns an dàrna linn ro Chrìosd: in the second century before Christ; an fheadhainn as sine a th’ againn mu Bhreatainn: the oldest ones we have about Britain; sheòl e ann: he sailed there; thomhais e àirde na grèine aig meadhan-là: he estimated (measured) the height of the sun at midday; tha cuid a’ dèanamh dheth: some (people) reckon; bha fada aig X ri dhol: X had a long way to go (travel).

Puing-ghràmair na Litreach: agus bhuaithe sin, dh’obraich Hipparchus a-mach gu robh e aig 58°13’ gu tuath air crios meadhan na cruinne: and from that Hipparchus worked out that he (Pytheas) was at 58°13’ north of the equator. Do you notice a grammatical difference between the Gaelic and English sentences here? In English ‘from’ is the simple preposition, but in Gaelic, in a situation like this, where no noun is involved, we would normally say ‘bhuaithe sin’ which literally means ‘from it that’. Bhuaithe is a prepositional pronoun, a grammatical construction which does not exist in English, but which is common in Gaelic (they exist for all common prepositions); it is formed as a combination of the preposition ‘bho’ and the third person singular masculine personal pronoun ‘e’. Why do we assume the use of the masculine prepositional pronoun rather than the feminine (bhuaipe )? I suppose one just has to recognise that the masculine is generally the ‘default’ position, if gender is not a particular issue.

Gnàthas-cainnt na Litreach: a bhuineadh don bhaile Ghreugach .. air a bheil ‘Marseilles’ an-diugh: who belonged to the Greek town .. which is called ‘Marseilles’ today. A bhuineadh do/dha – who belonged to (place)

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